Moscow expands attacks on religions with foreign ties, threatening even more groups – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Until about a year ago, Moscow’s attacks on religious groups were limited to Muslims whom the Russian authorities considered to be extremists and Jehovah’s Witnesses because of the denomination’s missionary activity and its ties to abroad. But now Moscow is expanding its attack on religious groups with such reputations and ties.
According to an expert opinion poll in Russia carried out by a journalist writing under the pseudonym of Ivan Aleksandrov, the Russian authorities have extended their attacks on their traditional targets even as they have attacked more groups than the Kremlin considers hostile to Russia (Russian. eurasianet.org/ÑÐ¾ÑÑÐ¸Ñ-ÑÐ°ÑÑÐ¸ÑÑÐµÑ-Ð´Ð¸Ð°Ð¿Ð°Ð·Ð¾Ð½-ÑÐµÐ»Ð¸Ð³Ð¸Ð¾Ð·Ð½ÑÑ -Ð³Ð¾Ð½ÐµÐ½Ð¸Ð¹).
These include the Orthodox dissidents opposed by the Moscow Patriarchate and two new groups, the denomination New Generation of Pentecostals whose center is overseas and the Falungun, a cultural group that also has ties to the foreigner and whose activities in Russia hinder Moscow’s rapprochement with China.
None of these groups have a significant number of followers in Russia, the New Generation no more than a few hundred and the Falungun even fewer. But siloviki’s attacks on them raise the possibility that Moscow may soon come after Buddhists, despite their traditional status in Russia due to the support Russian Buddhists show for the Dalai Lama and other Protestants, most of whom have links with foreign groups, even funding. .
An attack on Buddhist groups in Tyva, Buryatia and Kalmykia could destabilize ethnic relations in the Far East and the Caucasus, and any action against Protestant groups could undermine the delicate relationship between their leaders and the Russian state and further damage reputation from Moscow to the West.
But despite these dangers, there is a great risk that Moscow will go precisely in this direction, not only because it has withstood criticism for its attacks on Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims, but also because it is more in addition evident that the Kremlin policy on religion is dominated. by siloviki rather than political leaders.
According to Aleksandr Verkhovsky, director of the SOVA Center, âReligious policy is closely linked to law enforcement bodies, and they view everything with suspicionâ¦ The atmosphere today is more repressive for all religious minorities than it is. was not 10 years ago. Back then, senior prosecutors could cancel cases, but now they don’t. “